Some of our favorite local hip-hop has been coming from the Avenue of the Arts Crew, and one of the best releases by said crew was last year's Cold Castle LP by ILL AL the Anglo-Saxon & Beatnic the Enforcer. The album features plenty of good jams, but my favorite is "Political Science" (not a cover of the Randy Newman song). Over killer production by LES375, the duo rhyme about the state of political discourse in America.
"That cut is sort of a quick take on our views on surface subject matter," says ILL AL. "The coming post war climate...corporate big business...it's our reality. All of us as Americans, or from any first world country I suppose."
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Though the tune is politically motivated, Al doesn't think a much about "political hip-hop."
"I think political hip-hop as a genre is destined to be pointless because it will only preach to the choir, but political awareness and content within great rap records is probably always going to perk an ear...It's funny, a lot of us in AOTA sort of got labeled locally as political MCs or revolutionary rappers or something like that. Even close friends, like GRIME. But none of us are that. We started really putting out records right when the war started [and] it was just something we all felt strongly about at the time. It was reflected in our sound, [but] none of us have a political agenda. Speaking for myself, a lot of what I spoke on when I was 25 on Unplug, I don't feel the same about at 32. Plus, the anger that can come out in some words is lessened with more attention to patience."